Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills
Local theaters ring in spring with new live comedies
Sue Chekaway transforms into her character, Penelope Sycamore, backstage at the playhouse for the Birmingham Village Players.
Posted March 15, 2017
BIRMINGHAM/BLOOMFIELD HILLS — While the rest of us were hunkered down last week trying to ride out the windstorms, some local theater groups were putting the finishing touches on some hilarious new shows set to open this month.
The Village Players of Birmingham took the stage last weekend, opening their rendition of the classic comedy “You Can’t Take It With You.” The story introduces a mish-mash of guests coming to dinner to meet the new beau of Alice Sycamore. Her conservative parents and eccentric family turn dinner into a zany night replete with fireworks, xylophones, wrestling and Marxist propaganda.
The award-winning production first opened on Broadway in 1936, and longtime member of the Village Players Mark Carley will present his vision for the show as director.
“To me, ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ is about throwing yourself completely into whatever makes you happy and not giving a fig about what anybody else thinks,” said Carley in a prepared statement. “In fact, what makes the Sycamore family so delightful is that not only do they not care what the world thinks of them, they are completely unaware that they are supposed to care. Pure innocence following its bliss. I want the audience to laugh. If they all quit their jobs on Monday, that would be an added bonus. OK, I’m kidding on that last one, but I do hope they will think about what they really enjoy and whether their current life’s path is taking them there.”
Just down the road, St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild of Cranbrook will pull back the curtain for its adaptation of the touching comedy “Calendar Girls.” Taken from the plot of the hit film starring Helen Mirren, the show follows the true story of 11 members of a British Women’s Institute who set out to raise money for a good cause in a less-than-traditional way.
“I’m playing Chris,” said actress Nancy Cooper, of Farmington. “Chris is like the life of everybody’s party. She gets everything going with the calendar and encourages everyone to participate.”
In an effort to raise the money needed to purchase a sofa for the waiting room of the local hospital’s cancer wing, the middle-aged ladies decide to bare it all for a controversial calendar spread. The quaint town is soon bombarded by international paparazzi looking to get the scoop on the spicy endeavor, and the women — and their friendships — are put to the test under the strain of their newfound fame.
“It’s just a fabulous story. A year ago we lost a nephew to leukemia, so that part of the story really impacted me,” said Cooper. “And the fact that these are middle-aged women who don’t have a whole lot going on in their lives interested me. I’m kind of at that place in my life too, where I’m someone’s mom or someone’s wife, and you don’t always get the spotlight for being who you are.”
“Calendar Girls” will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights March 17-18, March 24-25, and March 31-April 1. Sunday matinees, beginning at 2 p.m., will take place March 19 and 26.
Tickets cost $20 for adults, with a $2 discount for seniors over the age of 62 and students 18 and younger. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office at (844) 386-7826 or visit stdunstanstheatre.com.
St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild of Cranbrook is located at 400 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills.
“You Can’t Take It With You” will be staged at 8 p.m. March 17-18 and March 24-25. Sunday matinees, beginning at 2 p.m., will be held March 19 and 26.
Tickets cost $19. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office at (248) 644-2075 or visit birminghamvillageplayers.com.
The playhouse of the Village Players is located at 34660 Woodward Ave. in Birmingham.
About the author
Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki covers Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township as well as Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center. Esshaki has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2011 and attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakland Community College. She’s the recipient of several awards from the Michigan Press Association and the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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